The Chicago Bears announced the team has placed the franchise tag on defensive tackle Henry Melton. Under the new salary cap structure, Melton will be paid $8.45 million in 2013, the average of the top five players at his position.
"Henry has been a good player for us and we are using the franchise tag so his development continues as a Bear," Bears GM Phil Emery said. "We will continue our conversations with Henry and work toward a multi-year agreement."
The Bears followed this strategy last season with Matt Forte, placing the tag on him so as to give both sides more time to negotiate a long-term contract.
"Good to be a Bear for another year," Melton said on his Twitter account. "Hopefully we can get a long-term deal done soon!"
The 2013 cap is set at $123 million and Chicago is roughly $12 million under that number. If they cannot work out a multi-year contract with Melton, the majority of the cap will go to him, leaving the club with little room to maneuver during the offseason.
Melton was third amongst defensive tackle last season with 6.0 sacks. His 13.0 sacks the last two years combined are second to only Cincinnati's Geno Atkins amongst DTs during that time.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.